This is a review of the motion picture score August Rush by Mark Mancina.
“The musical journey through life is wonderfully represented by the score to August Rush”
Remember this 2007 movie? One of the brightest and best music movies to come that year and perhaps the decade? I’ll leave that to the movie critics. I did a review of the August Rush soundtrack last year which featured a lot of artists like Steve Erdody, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Kaki King, Heitor Pereira and John Legend to name a few. The original score was composed by Mark Mancina, but on that soundtrack there were only 2 cues from the great composer. What a shame! However thanks to New Line Records we now have the full score by Mark Mancina. It includes 17 tracks and about 50 minutes of music and is released digitally only, but that’s ok as long as we can listen to the score.
- August’s Rhapsody In C Major (*****)
- Wine Glass Suite (*****)
- Arpeggio Theme (*****)
- Guitar Lullaby (****)
- Against The Gate (***)
- Washington Square (*****)
- Hospital (****)
- Photo (*****)
- Piano Lullaby (****)
- Playground (***)
- Julliard, Pt. 2 (****)
- Searching / Wind Up (***)
- Basketball (**)
- Main Title From Theme Suite One (****)
- Bari Improvs (Original Demo) (****)
- Ar Pipe Organ (Original Demo) (***)
- August Rush Rhapsody (Original Demo) (****)
August’s Musical Journey
I was so happy when I saw this one released on January 27th on Amazon digital and iTunes that I instantly went and played the original soundtrack which still is a great album to own and listen to in my opinion so if you don’t have that yet, go get it. The two cues we heard on the original album was very good in my opinion, especially the over 7 minutes long ‘August’s Rhapsody in C Major’ which is the performance by the musical genius known as August Rush. They have added over 40 minutes of more delightful music for us to listen to.
Let me just start with the mentioned cue ‘August’s Rhapsody in C Major’ which represents August’s musical journey from start to finish. What I like about this track is the variety of music presented. There is a warm orchestral string section, duelling guitar section, a horn section and my favourite, a gospel/R&B section. It might not cater for all kinds of musical styles in which case we would be looking at thousands of hours, but this will do just nicely thank you very much. Mark Mancina is a very talented and capable composer who can do action (Speed, Twister, Bad Boys) to heartbreaking dramas (Return to Paradise) and I want to see more Mancina releases coming out in the forthcoming years.
Other Great Cues
Apart from ‘August’s Rhapsody in C Major’ I am happy to announce that it is not the only great cue, but in fact there are many. ‘Wine Glass Suite’ is a brilliant soothing theme played on glass (ambience) with a light piano doing the musical pieces. It’s very simple, but it just moves you, especially at around the 12 minute mark where oboes and strings come in to further enhance the music. ‘Arpeggio’s Theme’ is a variant of the ‘Wine Glass Suite’, but it’s warmer yet keeps the nice feeling of the previous cue. Around 1:25 comes a string section which might make you weep. It’s simply heart warming and beautiful. ‘Washington Square’ starts with an indie and plucked guitar motif but quickly transforms to a more traditional orchestral music with horn and a beautiful violin sound that you almost think Joshua Bell was on it. ‘Photo‘ is another gorgeous theme with a slow ambient sound to get it started, but then it plays theme nr. 2. Oh I forgot to tell you about theme nr. 2? I will in a minute, but let me just tell you about ‘Photo‘ first. It might do the old repetition of the ‘Wine Glass Suite’ and especially ‘Arpeggio’s Theme’, but it’s still so very beautiful. Theme 2 is really where the girl is singing those beautiful tones in the ‘August’s Rhapsody in C Major’. It is used sparely throughout the score.
is not all perfect as there are some interesting cues that might not be as beautiful as the cues I have mentioned, but they all share a place in the musical journey that August Rush is. ‘Against the Gate‘ for example is a rough track, using a lot of electronic sounds and some more heavy guitar and a greasy harmonica to give it that extra bit of edge. ‘Basketball’ is another interesting cue that even uses a basketball as percussion and use a slowdown effect. Not that great really, but certainly interesting.
There are some cool demos at the end which is like a rehearsal at first, then it gets better and better. First we have ‘Bari Improvs (Original Demo)‘ which is the plucky guitar sound we all know with a lot of reverb. It starts off with some nervous tones, then he gets better as gets practice. I believe Kaki King had this one in the original album and Heitor Pereira did the guitar. The next one is ‘AR Pipe Organ’ which is where he practices on a church organ. It can be quite beautiful, but it’s not that beautiful here, even though he repeats the 2nd theme. I just feel the sound is a bit off. In the last cue ‘August Rush Rhapsody (Original Demo)‘ which is like a practice run for Mark Mancina/August Rush as he creates August’s Rhapsody. Over 9 minutes long it is quite a bit different than the first cue and includes some interesting varied music, however it is not as good, but almost!
This is a great buy and if you loved the movie, it is a must. Is it better than the original album? I would say they complement each other and should co-exist together in beautiful harmony. The musical journey through life is wonderfully represented by the score to August Rush and Mark Mancina has done a marvellous job with the score. I highly recommend this!
GEEK SCORE: 78.8